Not everyone is born with the steady hands of an artist, marksman or eye surgeon. It’s hard to keep your digits steady with the knowledge that every move you make could spell success or failure. Enter, TECHNOLOGY.
Barry Abrams isn’t an eye surgeon, but he is a designer and maker of things from Champaign, Illinois. He may have the graphic-fashioning chops of an expert (his profession requires it, after all), but his YouTube channel has a handful of highly interesting, highly detailed videos for practical projects any other design-minded person will be interested in.
How to Screen Print Posters
Exhibit A: How to screen print posters. Something we at SolidSmack, and I’m sure you at where ever, have been interested for at least the past two and half hours.
With his garage as a base of operations, using equipment he made himself, Barry built his own studio specifically for screen printing wood and poster stock. From a planet series to his new national park series, Barry uses his inspiration and knowledge of silk-screening for others to enjoy. Then records it all to show us how he does it.
Let’s take a look at how he goes through the process of creating the planet series, shall we?
1. Spread Photo-Emulsion Across Frame
Barry starts off by spreading a thick mix of photo emulsion onto both sides of the aluminum frame screen. Aluminum frame screens won’t warp like wood frames. Use a lower mesh size for more detailed prints. Some places to get them are Amazon, Utrecht or ScreenPrinting.com
2. Source/Create the Artwork
While the screens dry overnight, Barry sources imagery using Google and separates the colors using Photoshop. There isn’t any drawing here; just the good, ol’ editing and printing of images that don’t belong to you onto a piece of transparency.
3. Locate Image on Screen
Once the screen is dry and image is printed, Barry proceeds to center and square the transparency on the screen using the crop marks he printed on the transparency.
4. Burn the screen
The Neptune print is inverted under glass (helps keep it flat and avoids the need to use tape), he then blasts a blinding amount of light onto the screen for for 13 minutes (a 3000 watt metal halide light would do the trick more quickly while a 150 watt bulb would take around 30-45 minutes).
5. Clean the screen
After the screen is baked, he sprays the screen to rinse off the emulsion, blocked by the graphic on the transparency, before setting the initial image onto paper with screen printing ink. A pressure washer does quick work, but a garden hose with a jet setting will work as well.
6. Squeegee and Repeat
Before printing, Barry covers any areas he doesn’t want to show with painters tape. Instead of taping the poster paper down, he uses a vacuum table to hold the paper in place. Using even pressure, he spreads the paint across the screen, repeating for each poster.
7. Add Another Color!
You thought it was all over, didn’t you? Well, Barry has one more step in mind for his print. He burned another screen to add another color, capturing the subtle features of the planet. While Neptune requires only an extra layer of blue, prints such as Earth and Saturn require more screens, for more colors, and more work, making us wish, for Barry’s sake, our home world wasn’t so colorful.
After letting the screen-printed posters dry for a good 24 hours, they’re finally finished. It’s hard to imagine something that looks so professional came from Barry’s garage, but goes to show what you can do with some paint… and a bit of photo-emulsion, a high-watt bulb and a vacuum table.
You can see more of Barry’s posters, as well as his other wall hangings, on his Imgur submissions and Instagram. But if you’re looking to buy some of his works, you can head on over to the Plyshop store on etsy.com and collect them all.